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Taxonomy Lies! -- well, does it? cultural influences, biases, mistakes in thinking?

 
pollinator
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How much do we really know about plants?

How much of taxonomy is culturally influenced, perhaps even distorted, by blindspots of the researchers?

How much might change if we re-vised through a permaculture or more accurate lense?

How do you really know if an X won't breed with a Y unless you try it, many many times, with the X and the Y being pretty well isolated so there's no other chance of pollination? (Just because you're not my first choice in the bar doesn't mean I won't go home with you if all other options are exhausted .)

How much do genetics --genome code patterns -- actually tell us about how similar or dissimilar two plants are, in terms of capability of breeding, climate they'll thrive or survive in, usefulness, or potential, or graftability?

These questions came up for me when I went on Wikipedia. Talking about "this was discovered in 1745 by a French botanist, this was discovered by the British botanist..." and there are a few Chinese names and a few German and that's all I find even among present-day researchers on taxonomy. (Granted this was like 15" of random searching, I'm just putting a question out here.)

Monoculture--bad for crops, bad for research?
Polyculture--good for crops, good for research? might differing viewpoints see differing values in the same plant or other organism?

In Dagara land Malidoma Some said they used to have some secret seeds that have now been lost that they would plant along with the crops that would not grow into plants but had other purposes...what else might be out there

Thanks for your thoughts team!
 
pollinator
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Different species are different not because they WILL NOT cross, but because the generally don't. The various squash and brassica species are good examples. They generally don't cross, but crosses do happen spontaneously. And, with some patience and a few "tricks" all kinds of things can be made to cross. Carol Deppe has a good chapter on this in her book, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties. And also, I think plant families are much more "set" then species or genera classifications.

I think that if we put everything into the same species which could be made to cross, the species classifications would become useless to us as gardeners: we would never know which plant was meant by "X"
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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kids trees urban
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Thanks, Gilbert, and after I posted I read the article on the new kingdom discovered--cryptomycota--the fungi without chitinous cell walls. Hm.....now animals and fungi are stuck together in the same clade? and there are like 8 clades to the tree of life? what was God thinking? whether or not taxonomy lies, certainly my high school biology didn't give me a very accurate picture of the truth.

Also, unrelated, but also mind-blowing-bones are flexible, not rigid, and this is not a negligible factor! this affects the way one moves, believing bones to be rigid is false mental mapping. So muchm ore to learn and unlearn.
 
gardener
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The taxonomies of life are always being changed and refined. Originally, visible characteristics were used to group things. In later times, chemical and then genomic similarity is used to group them. Its not a lie, it is a process of constant refinement. Constant refinement is especially warranted the smaller the form of life. Some viruses, bacteria, archaea, and amoeba genetics can drift fast enough to need reclassification every 10-20 years or so. Life doesn't stop changing, and taxonomies can't stop changing either.
 
Mother Tree
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You might enjoy reading The Diversity of Live by Edward O Wilson

Also, a couple of links to keep you busy...

Ring Species

Lumpers and Splitters
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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I'm excited about walruses.

And also seals.

Did you know there's only one species of walrus? and that it can weigh up to 4,000 pounds?
And 19 species of seals? and then sea lions and fake seals are also in the same general grouping together with walruses and seals, but the walruses are all on their own in their species? and that they're all somewhat related to bears?
Elephant seals are hte biggest in the whole clade or family or whatever it is, I forget, they can get up to 7,000 lbs I think. (please check wikipedia for all of this info, I may be forgetting).

It got me thinking that the permaculturing of the sea could be another field of activity. Beyond fish farming, looking at supporting the large megafauna of the sea. And how do the megafauna affect the smaller life? what symbiosis and relationships are there? is there a fungus of the sea? are the cryptomycota that fungus? what serve the same role in a pond or sea as fungus on land?

I think it's so beautiful that there are so many different kinds of seals, and turtles, and so much redundancy and wild creativity among them. A human gardener would just make one kind of seal and be like, "there, done, next"--but nature makes 19 different species! and they're all beautiful.

I so appreciate that there's a place where some people will probably understand how I feel about these things. It just makes me feel a giddy childlike glee!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Thanks Burra! Very cool links. I might read the Wilson book, looks inspiring. I also wonder if any permaculturist specifically has written on taxonomy?? what is an indigenous view of the multiplicity species?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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20,000 species of ants. Nuff said.
 
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